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With Gas Prices Expected To Drop Below $3, Republicans Suddenly Silent On Obama’s Role

By Rebecca Leber  

"With Gas Prices Expected To Drop Below $3, Republicans Suddenly Silent On Obama’s Role"

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Experts predict average gas prices may fall below $3 this fall after dropping 14 cents in two weeks. When prices hit a record high, Republicans attributed sole responsibility to President Obama, even though there is no evidence that factors like drilling impact what consumers pay.

Just two months ago, Republicans said Obama shouldered the blame for rising gas costs, and that only he had the “key” to lower gas prices:

Mitt Romney, March 18, 2012: “He gets full credit or blame for what’s happened in this economy, and what’s happened to gasoline prices under his watch, and what’s happened to our schools, and what’s happened to our military forces. All these things are his responsibility while he’s president.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), April 6, 2012: “The president holds the key to addressing the pain Ohioans are feeling at the gas pump and moving our nation away from its reliance on foreign energy. My question for the president is: what are you waiting for?”

Boehner, April 6, 2012: “The president’s own policies to date have made matters worse and driven up gas prices.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Feb. 28 2012: “This President will go to any length to drive up gas prices and pave the way for his ideological agenda.”

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), March 13, 2012: Obama is “fully responsible for what the American public is paying for gasoline.”

Are Republicans now reversing their rhetoric and giving Obama credit for falling gas prices? Of course not.

Former Virginia Sen. George Allen, who is running to reclaim his old seat, is another lawmaker who has misled on the gas prices. Last month, ThinkProgress reported that Allen is pushing a graphic that not only compares gas prices to an artificially low amount, but lists a “current” price from April, even though Virginia gas prices are now more than 40 cents lower per gallon.

Obama’s policies haven’t changed since April: the Keystone XL pipeline has not been built, drilling hasn’t drastically changed, and the same regulations are in place. Yet gas prices have fallen. Economics says he isn’t responsible, either way.

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35 Responses to With Gas Prices Expected To Drop Below $3, Republicans Suddenly Silent On Obama’s Role

  1. Scott Candage says:

    Actually, the Obama administration’s regulations to increase margin requirements on oil speculation, implemented in April, are largely responsible for this drop in gas prices. http://www.telegram.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120625/COLUMN70/120629724/1002/BUSINESS#.T-hmf0GRXho.twitterq But you won’t hear that from the GOP. I’d like to hear it more from Democrats, though.

  2. fgsgeneg says:

    This is a conspiracy by the Obama Administration to lull us to sleep with cheap gas while he takes our guns away. Or is it a conspiracy by Obama to raise the gas tax? Whatever it is, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s a conspiracy and Obama’s White House is at the bottom of it. ISSA NEEDS TO INVESTIGATE THIS!!!

    • peajayach says:

      fgsgeneg -

      I’m convinced it’s true, I’m a regular listener of ‘Coast-to Coast’.

      • justjoe says:

        If it weren’t for the right wing crazy on that show I’d listen more often. I’m cool with the regular crazy.

    • Chris says:

      aint that the truth. I got into a debate with my teabag uncle who tried to tell me Citizens United was about giving churches free speech. I was floored. I tried to tell him it was about unlimited campaign donations by corporate america and that previously there were limits on campaign donations. He told me I was misinformed and watching too much main stream media. What do you do in this case when people ignore facts, put their fingers in their ears and go “la,la, la, la, la, I cant hear you”. I really expected more out of adults that are older than I.

  3. renewable guy says:

    I have read this article that says Obama is a part of the price drop.

    ############
    Obama’s policies haven’t changed since April: the Keystone XL pipeline has not been built, drilling hasn’t drastically changed, and the the same regulations are in place. Yet gas prices have fallen. Economics says he isn’t responsible, either way.
    ############

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2012/06/23/since-april-president-obama-cut-oil-prices-21-boosted-gdp-78-4-billion/

    Since April President Obama Cut Oil Prices 21%, Boosted GDP $78.4 Billion

    In case you never heard about it, in April the Obama administration asked Congress to spend $52 million to regulate this speculation. According to the Washington Post, this included the following steps:

    Increase by a factor of six Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) surveillance and enforcement staff “to better deter oil market manipulation,”
    Boost 10-fold to $10 million the civil and criminal penalties against “firms that engage in market manipulation,”
    Give the CFTC authority to increase the trader margins — the amount of their own capital that traders must set aside for each bet. The administration officials said such authority “could help limit disruptions in energy markets,” according to the Post.

    • While I’m all for tightening margin requirements on speculators, the op-ed piece you cite (which is identical to the one cited on Telegram.com above) is a great example of shoddy logic. First, it only says that President Obama asked for $52M for tighter enforcement, but it doesn’t say that Congress allowed him to spend the money (with this Congress, it seems unlikely he would have been granted that authority, though he may not have needed Congressional approval). Second, the oped acknowledges that other factors, like supply and demand and the strengthening of the dollar compared to the euro, also played a role, but doesn’t quantify the causal effects of each. The latter two effects are generally powerful and easily measurable, while the effect of tightening margin requirements is probably negligible in the medium to long term (it can have short term effects). I refer you to the work of Severin Borenstein at UC Berkeley for details: http://www.usnews.com/debate-club/is-obama-to-blame-for-high-gas-prices/the-us-cant-control-the-world-oil-market

  4. Chris says:

    Romney is also telling Republican governors who are up for reelection to stop saying the job picture is getting better. The governors want to take the credit for their state’s improving economy, but Romney doesn’t want Obama to get any of the credit.

  5. Quinn says:

    It’s not a conspiracy theory but I do firmly believe that this drop in price is a marketing tactic in order to get people to move away from the idea of alternative energy. If gas prices start dropping, people will put off buying their smart car or support alternative energy research.

    Keep the consumers in your pockets, big-oil.

  6. Rattakin says:

    No, no, no, you’ve got it all wrong. When gas prices go up it is due to Obama’s greed and hatred of all hardworking Americans. When gas prices drop, it’s because we’re drilling more. Dontcha get it?

    • mulp says:

      No, no, Obama has dictated lower prices to hurt Mitt Romney and Republicans in November, and then when he’s reelected he will dictate gas prices go to $6 a gallon.

  7. Ed says:

    Well that’s funny… What were the Republicans saying about gas prices in July of 2008 when Gas was at a record high, higher than they were in April this year? I remember I was paying $4.19 a Gallon in July 2008… Let’s not play the blame game folks. Both parties are to blame just as they are pawns for the Oil Industry. The Speculator trade by the banks doesn’t help Wall Street “settle” on a price either.

    What’s sad is, Light Sweet Crude’s going for $79.46 a barrel right now… Why are we still paying $3.50 a gallon right now? I hear, through CNBC, Gas prices are being based off of the Brent Sweet Crude prices now, which is much more expensive, yet, they more commonly use Light Sweet crude in the refineries to make the gas. Oil Companies are great at manipulating the facts, and using completely inane excuses to price gouge the average consumer… Last year it was Libya, last winter, it was Iran, this past Spring it was Israel, and Syria… Next week, they’ll use the excuse that butterfly flight patterns are causing Gas prices to rise because the Butterflies are interrupting the Oil deliveries… Whatever excuse they can use to keep inflating the price, they’ll use it.

    The Oil Companies are also great at Manipulating the price high enough to the point where they’ll brainwash everyone into believing that $2.99 a gallon, or $2.50 a gallon, or even $2.09 a gallon’s cheap… That’s not cheap… Far from it. $1.09 a gallon is cheap… Don’t let the Oil Companies, or the Corporate owned Media fool you. They have all of the Politicians in their back pockets. Until the speculators, and the banks are eliminated from the Oil trade, and Oil Company Kickbacks to politicians are eliminated, we’ll get routinely price gouged at the Pump…

  8. AlvaP says:

    As I paid $2.81 for Regular gas when I filled my tank today, I was wondering when Republicans were going to give President Obama credit for the reduction in gas prices. LOL I laughed out loud as I was pumping the gas.

  9. katym. says:

    … so why HAVE they fallen?

    • Dan Ives says:

      Because of very poor economic conditions, which is reducing demand. But that would make Obama look bad, so Ms. Leber didn’t want to mention that.

      • Joe Romm says:

        We have growth in this country, not as much as we’d have if conservatives weren’t blocking every effort to stimulate the economy. The rest of the world is hard to pin on Obama.

        • Ken Barrows says:

          We haven’t had growth (net of total credit market debt) for about 40 years. But why care about growth and low gas prices? Climate change is much more important than these two items.

          • Dennis says:

            considering that the main cause of global warming is our dependence on fossil fuels I would have to say that it is directly related. While the lower prices are going to be a benefit to those of us who fall within the poverty bracket, we need to get ourselves together as a country, a species, a planet, to decrease/stop the use of this finite resource. It’s time to wake up to reality and move forward instead of focusing on the trivialities of the oil companies. Let’s put an end to their tyranny and implement the solution. We have the technology right now to put an end to the use of fossil fuels. All we have to do is get it into our heads that we CAN do it.

      • Mugsy says:

        No, the primary economic influence is Europe… namely the crisis in Greece & Spain. They buy gas too, ya know.

  10. facts lean left says:

    Dan Ives, reduced demand generally pushes prices up. You’re the only one looking bad here.

    • Declan McK says:

      Reducing demand does not push prices up. Reduced demand shifts the demand curve left, and the equilibrium price (intersection with supply curve) falls.

    • Ken Barrows says:

      facts lean left,

      Think about the logic in your statement. Fewer people want (and can) buy diamonds so the price goes up?

      • Ed says:

        More demand for diamonds puts inventories down which drives the price up… Less demand raises inventories, drops the price. In 2008, when the Recession became much worse, demand for Gas, and Oil dropped by a large margin, which is why the price sharply dropped, and we were paying $1.58 a Gallon here in Ohio in November of ’08.

        • facts lean left says:

          Well, that’s if you all think that the oil markets are responding to anything but political pressure, insider trading and speculation.

  11. snoopy says:

    drill baby drill all of a sudden becomes, be still, b!tches, be still!

  12. facts lean left says:

    Those drops are always temporary, and are replaced by sharper raises in price. And let’s face it, speculation is the main culprit, and Obama has taken steps to slow that.

  13. Spike says:

    Good review of some recent economic literature in NYRB by Krugman and Wells. the bit that caught my eye is below:

    “But as Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein say in the title of their new book, “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks”. They argue that Congress—and indeed the whole American political system—is close to complete institutional collapse. We have entered a new politics of “hostage taking,” they tell us, epitomized by but by no means limited to the 2011 fight over the debt ceiling. And they strongly suggest that the ongoing fiasco of macroeconomic policy may be only the beginning.

    It’s a remarkable if depressing book, especially impressive given its provenance. Mann and Ornstein are deeply respected congressional scholars, and their book would seem on the surface to epitomize the kind of bipartisan effort Washington insiders claim to love: Mann is at the liberal Brookings Institution, Ornstein at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. Yet they reject the temptation to shade their conclusions in the name of “balance.” What the country faces, they write, isn’t a problem with partisanship in the abstract; it’s a problem with one party:

    However awkward it may be for the traditional press and nonpartisan analysts to acknowledge, one of the two major parties, the Republican Party, has become an insurgent outlier—ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. When one party moves this far from the center of American politics, it is extremely difficult to enact policies responsive to the country’s most pressing challenges.”

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/jul/12/getting-away-it/?page=2

  14. Jo says:

    If the GOP’s silence weren’t so pathetically predictable, it’d be funny.

  15. Mugsy says:

    Slight correction TP:

    Gas prices did not hit an (all-time) “record high”, just a “record high for March”.

    Bush still holds the “all time” record high of $4.11 in July of 2008.

  16. NJP1 says:

    gas prices have fallen because in 2008 it got too expensive for millions of people to use, so the oil-fuelled economy crashed.
    Now gas is cheaper again, so we’re starting to burn it again, so the demand will start to rise, and so will the price. It really is that simple folks. no politics involved at all. Theres still an oil shortage in our immediate future, this is just a downward blip—make the most of it and heed the warning of James howard Kunstler: (the Long Emergency): (oil) volatility would be the hallmark of post peak oil because it was obvious that advanced economies could not support high prices and would crash in response; that at some point after crashing, these economies would respond to new lower oil prices, resume their cheap oil habits and build to another price rise, then crash again..in a declension of ever decreasing industrial activity.
    America is never going to be self sufficient in oil again. New oil discoveries maxed out in 1930, production peaked in 1970. The data is clear and freely available, there’s no more oil (in any meaningful quantity) to be had on the US mainland. Try to absorb reality: a billion barrels of oil means 3 weeks of world supply, thats why the cost of it will always go up

  17. donquijoterocket says:

    I sincerely hope the person hypothesizing a conspiracy to retard the sales of hybrids and electrics is wrong.It’s so hard to recognize snark these days, especially good snark,but I’d bet big oil is sweating their knickers just now since a hybrid automobile just won the 24 hours of Le mans.

  18. Kevin Houghton says:

    A President has very little affect on gas prices. ANY President

    • Paul Hoover says:

      Only when it is high prices during a Republican Presidency, if it’s a Democrat well everything is the fault of the Democrats. Hell they enticed Eve to give the apple to Adam and they both ate.

      • Hegesias of Cyrene says:

        As an independent liberal I think it is riducluous to assert that no one blamed Bush for high gas prices. For chrissakes, it was his fault gas prices are where they are now. Gas was $1.54 a gallon when Bush took office. And, supposedly, inflation has remained low. Meanwhile Oil Co. profits are through the roof. Nevertheless, the way to keep prices low does NOT include selling $60 billion in weapons to the Saudi dictator-terrorists so they can jack up the price of oil to get the bill paid sooner.

  19. Lynn Laumann says:

    I bought an all electric Nissan LEAF. We have had it for a year, and we absolutely love it. We charge it in our garage at night from a standard 110-volt outlet and drive about 25 miles per day. Therefore, we care not about the price of gas – it is just trivia to us.